2007-01-23 10:41:00.000 – Brent Antkowiak, Summit Intern
Sun Pillar This Morning…
This morning’s excitement on the mountain did NOT come from typical Mount Washington January weather. Instead, as Jim, Jackie, and I headed out this morning around 8:30, we were greeted with a summer-like feeling of warmth as the sun glared down from the southeastern sky. It was amazing how warm 5 degrees can feel without the common 60-70 mph, or in the case of just a few days ago, 100mph winds! In fact, the past day and a half have been just as calm, with temps around 0 and winds 5-15 mph. I’ll take it!
The calm on the top of the rock pile has given us a chance to venture out around the summit, as we did this morning. Jim pointed out a somewhat rare phenomenon here on the summit, gleaming in the morning sky just below the sun. It was a spectacular sun pillar displayed with double heads mountain peaks in the background as shown in the picture. These lower pillars are usually seen from a mountainside looking down into mist or an icy cloud. But in our case there were no clouds, just blue skies. So if you are wondering where were these ice crystals, of which the sun so brilliantly reflected off of, coming from? Well these were diamond dust crystals, which typically occur on very cold days. They provided an excellent reflection point for the suns rays against the darker colored trees amongst the mountains in the background.
On a final note, it looks as though our weather is not going to continue to be so pleasant on the summit for much longer. As staff shift change comes tomorrow, as does some colder weather and more typical winds. Now if we could only get some snow…..
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Brent Antkowiak, Summit Intern